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Indoor Fun with a .38 Special
By the Checkered Demon

I heard the other day that a large number of shooting deaths every year were suicides. It might not be that surprising, given the lives we lead, but really? I don't know, but it sort of clings, so it's probably a lie.

I've been bored. Nothing to do, no chores and at loose ends. Something positive is to improve your marksmanship.

Point your unloaded .38 straight out with an extended arm and sight at a spot on a white door frame. Use a pencil to make a small dot there.

Do the same again, getting the top of the rear notch level with the top of the front sight. Center the front sight in the notch, keeping everything level. Finally hold all that with the dot you drew on top of the front sight.

Once you can aim at your dot, cock the .38 and drop your pencil down the bore, eraser first. As before, extend your arm and aim, holding the muzzle off the door frame 2 or 3 inches, and aim at your dot as before, squeezing the trigger until it " fires ". The pencil will print a faint dot as it is struck by the firing pin and flies out the muzzle. Do groups of five, and you can actually watch them shrink as you get rhythm. Remove the pencil before cocking the revolver.

That's a fun way for city dwellers to get target time, but sometimes actual invaders have to be dealt with. In the Deep South there are many wonderful things, but cockroaches aren't one of them. Not only do they grow 3-4 inches long, they have a way of flying off a wall into your face that will reduce a strong man to tears. Of rage, if nothing else.

The apartment was on Saint Charles avenue in uptown New Orleans, a block or two above the old Columns hotel where they did that Bette Davis movie. The street is lined with huge Water Oaks, which are huge roach hives. This ensures any building within view of the streetcar running down the center of the avenue will be crawling with water bugs, as they called roaches in these parts. A good exterminator winds up a millionaire here.

The apartment stunk. It was in a building from 1840 or near enough: high ceilings with rounded corners sheathed with embossed tin sections, muted under layers of ancient paint. Mold staining the corners and tiles. The roaches were everywhere, hanging on the walls well out of reach, the pricks. I had a .38 though.

I bought a Lee hand reloading tool for about $15 and a scad of primers. I then bought a couple of blocks of canning wax and headed home. Once there, I de-primed a box of fired .38 cases and then set them up with new primers. Having cut the wax blocks down to 1/2 inch thick, I could push the primed shell down into it, loading it with a wax bullet. Roach medicine.

I kept them in the refrigerator, facing down. The wax will melt and run down into the primer and ruin it, so primer up. I'd walk into the apartment after work and flip on the light. The roaches would rustle and scrabble up the walls, stopping and turning. Staring at me as I walked to the refrigerator and loaded up.

The primers made little pops, nothing to the real rounds going off a block or two away. The wax bullet would squish the roach and form a roach/wax blob on the wall, slowly melting into a streak headed for the base boards. Organic, and the late roach's buds would all chow down. I'd do five or six of them a night, which would be plenty for the rest to tend to. They left me alone as I slept.

I didn't stay there long.

C Demon

Of Lions and Men

Welcome to Harm City, White-Boy

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